$90,000 revamp wanted to give Hawke's Bay Regional Council offices more mana
Hawke's Bay Regional Council's new chairman wants to spend $89,000 of ratepayers' money to revamp its offices to better reflect the "mana" of his position.
"I do want to see it project some mana of the role," Rex Graham said of the proposal, which would include adding Maori carvings and portraits of tribal ancestors to the debating chamber, and creating a "chairman's room" in what is currently a councillors' lounge and meeting room.
"I'm not being a Donald Trump here – it's not just the mana of myself, but the mana of the role as chair ... I don't think this chamber does it.
"This place looks like East Germany. It has no recognition of who we are and what we are, and of our history."
But one councillor described the idea as like putting "the Dead Poets' Society on the wall".
Neil Kirton said there was a lack of subtlety to what had been suggested in an initial mockup image in a paper discussed at a council meeting on Wednesday.
"I wonder if we could consider other options around cultural representation in addition to, say, photographs of elderly passed people. Maybe we could look at more subtle ways of representing cultural aspirations."
Graham also wants to move his office from the first floor of the council's Napier headquarters to a ground-floor space currently used by councillors.
Alan Dick said he was concerned about losing an office space he often used.
Graham said he did not intend to spend much time in the proposed "chairman's room", which would also be available for councillors.
The $89,000 budget put forward to councillors includes $22,500 to cover half the estimated cost of nine portraits of tipuna, or ancestors, from Ngati Kahungunu Treaty settlement entities within the council's catchment.
It was proposed the entities would pay the other half of the cost of the paintings, which would remain their property but be displayed in the council chamber.
After discussing the matter for 30 minutes on Wednesday, councillors decided they needed more information before making a decision and deferred the issue to a future meeting.